Tuesday, May 24, 2022

In the security briefing offered by the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey in the wake of the crisis in Texas, Tim Torell, director of Jewish Community Security at JFNNJ, pointed out that in both the Beth Israel incident and the Tree of Life massacre in Pittsburgh, the severity of the tragedies was mitigated because of recent community training.

Torell offered a list of 10 things synagogues can do right now to make their facility and community safer:

1. Review and/or update your Emergency Operational Plan. If you don’t have one, create one.

2. Test your existing security systems, making sure cameras, panic buttons, intercoms, speakers, etc. are all in working order.

3. Have electronic floor plans to your facilities available for law enforcement in case of an emergency event. This includes being able to give law enforcement remote access to your security cameras, like in the Beth Israel incident.

4. Conduct tabletop exercises to improve an organized response to an event.

5. Contact your county’s risk mitigation officer to get a threat and vulnerability risk assessment of your facilities.

6. Review your cybersecurity measures, the security and level of information that you publish on your public websites, and your practices on social media.

7. Establish a plan in the case of a ransomware attack and know what your responsibilities are to those whose personal data may have been compromised.

8. Maintain a close relationship with your local law enforcement partners.

9. Report all incidents, minor or major, to your local law enforcement and/or Jewish Federation. Don’t feel like you’re bothering them.

10. Attend or organize training programs for your community including: Active Shooter, Stop the Bleed, Run/Hide/Fight, and De-escalation drills.

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